Few things rival Notre Dame athletics in South Bend. The Fighting Irish boast one of the most famous collegiate sports programs in the country, and there is an incredible list of things to do at Notre Dame on a football weekend. From free stadium tours to midnight drum circles performed by the band, there are so many ways to immerse yourself in the university’s rich culture. Trust us; you won’t want to miss out on legendary traditions that date back to the early 1900s.
For other ideas on how to make the most of your trip to South Bend, request access to our free Vacation Guide! It’s full of recommendations on the best restaurants, activities, and attractions in the area.
The Top Things to Do at Notre Dame on a Football Weekend
Explore the Guglielmino Complex
If you’re searching for things to do at Notre Dame on a football weekend, you should start at the Guglielmino Complex on Friday morning. “The Gug” houses the Fighting Irish football team’s primary state-of-the-art practice facilities, locker rooms, and coaches offices. The trophy room in the complex opens up to fans on Fridays before home games from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. to get a peek at the extensive collection of hardware and awards.
Feel the Rush of Running Out of the Tunnel
Do you want to experience the same excitement that a Notre Dame football player feels when he runs out of the North Tunnel onto the field? Well, you can walk in the footsteps of former and present Fighting Irish greats on Football Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. These stadium tunnel tours allow you to walk through the tunnel to the field. Tours start at the Knute Rockne Gate and are free to the public. This is one of the most fascinating things to do at Notre Dame during a football weekend!
Experience Trumpets Under the Golden Dome
Head to the famed Golden Dome on campus before 4 p.m. on Friday to watch the Notre Dame Marching Band trumpet section perform renditions of “Notre Dame Our Mother” and “Notre Dame Victory March.” You won’t want to miss this rich gameday weekend tradition.
Attend the Friday Pep Rally
Kick off the Notre Dame football weekend festivities on Friday at 6 p.m. with a pep rally. This fun and exciting gameday weekend event takes place at various locations around campus, depending on the week. Join fellow Fighting Irish fans in getting ready for the big game on Saturday. Pepe rallies are also free to the public.
Take a Visit to the Grotto
You can visit the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes at any time during your visit to South Bend, but it’s still one of the top things to do on a Notre Dame football weekend. The best time to visit this beautiful shrine to Mary is in the evening when hundreds of candles illuminate the area. Trust us; it’s a sight to behold, even if you’re not in town for the football game.
Revel in the Midnight Drummer’s Circle
While you’ll want to get plenty of rest for a packed Saturday full of gameday activities, we recommend you stay up a little late to see the Notre Dame Drumline plays a bevy of fan favorites, like the Notre Dame fight song, for 45 minutes in front the Main Building on campus.
Tailgate to Your Heart’s Content
Whether it’s at noon or under the lights, tailgating before a game is one of the top things to do during a Notre Dame football weekend. The campus lots open bright and early at 7 a.m. on Saturday, and fill up very quickly. Soon the smell of grills heating up and the sound of music full the lots. If you choose to buy a parking pass without a ticket, remember that you can’t tailgate once the game starts. Here’s more on the rules and regulation for Notre Dame tailgating!
Watch the Player Walk
You can get up close and personal with the players before they hit the field for warm-ups during the Player Walk. The head coach leads the team from “The Gug” towards the Hesburgh Library before making a sharp turn toward the North Tunnel. Fans line the walkway for a chance to high-five and cheer on their favorite players!
Listen to the Marching Band Step-Off
As the anticipation for kickoff continues, the Notre Dame Marching Band gathers in the front of the Main Building and begins to play before it marches into the stadium.
It’s Finally, Gametime!
You made it! This is the moment you waited for and the reason you traveled to South Bend this weekend. Even after taking part in all of the fun things to do on a Notre Dame football weekend. Once the Fighting Irish run onto the field, you can revel in a day full pigskin action in one of the most storied venues in all of college football.
The Oliver Inn offers the perfect place to stay during your visit for a Notre Dame football game. Our beautifully furnished rooms are only a 15-minute drive to the stadium, making us close enough to campus for an easy commute and far enough that you can relax while you’re at our bed and breakfast. Wake up to a delicious gourmet breakfast before heading out to enjoy the gameday activities! You can also enhance your stay with one of our incredible package deals.
Browse our collection of rooms today and start planning your trip for a football weekend. Accommodations fill up quickly, so make sure you book well in advance. We look forward to welcoming you to The Oliver Inn.